Mali (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - Novembre 13, 2012)

Q - Following the ECOWAS meeting on Sunday, what will the process be? What sort of timeframe is envisaged for the intervention?

A - Before responding to your question, I’d like to recall what has happened over the last two months on 3 or 4 dates.

puceoupas Let’s start with the high-level meeting on the Sahel on September 26 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly;

puceoupas October 12: adoption of resolution 2071 by the Security Council;

puceoupas October 15: adoption of the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Mali;

puceoupas October 19: Malian crisis mentioned in the European Council conclusions;

puceoupas November 12: adoption by the heads of state and government of ECOWAS of the concept of operations - which you just mentioned – relating to an African intervention in Mali.

We must consider the progress that’s been achieved in a very short space of time. In this respect, France will have played a key role in mobilizing the international community in order to demonstrate that the situation was serious and that there was an urgent need to take action. By this I simply mean that we’re moving forward, making relatively swift progress. And fortunately the situation on the ground warrants this.

We must never lose sight of the fact that we have a tendency to turn this into an issue that just focuses on AQIM in northern Mali. Indeed, that’s essential. But, as Laurent Fabius has reaffirmed several times, there are several dimensions that need to be addressed with respect to this crisis if we want to find a lasting solution to it. First of all, a political component, which can also be broken down into two parts: the implementation of a road map with an electoral calendar and a political dialogue between the Malian authorities and the non-terrorist groups, to quote resolution 2071 specifically.

Then there is a security component which relates to the reorganization and the training of the Malian forces, and also the eradication of AQIM in northern Mali. Lastly, there’s a humanitarian and development component.

These three components have a European dimension and an ECWAS-AU-UN dimension. There are things that will be done within the European framework, just as there are things that will be done within the framework of the UN, notably following Mr. Romano Prodi’s proposals.

Two things must be taken into consideration for the way ahead. The adoption of a new Security Council resolution within 45 days, as set forth in resolution 2071, i.e. before the deadline that expires on November 26. This will be done according to the procedure established at the outset, i.e. an African request based on a concept of operations proposed by the Africans, and submitted to the Security Council. And then the adoption of a resolution at the Security Council. That brings us to end November/ beginning of December. The first meeting will therefore be in New York. The second meeting will be in Brussels following the conclusions adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council in October; we’re now awaiting the formalization of the EU proposal in response to the African request for an operation to train the Malian army. The next deadline is the Foreign Affairs Council on November 19. Then, that of mid-December. Things are moving forward at a steady pace and France welcomes this.